Bangkok Post

Trial by fire for new permanent secretary


The new commerce permanent secretary taking office next Tuesday will likely face an uphill battle to please both consumers and the private sector while keeping Thailand’s trading partners happy amid tough economic conditions and some of the government’s less popular schemes.

Indeed, Srirat Rastapana, now directorge­neral of the Internatio­nal Trade Promotion Department, has already been urged to strike a balance between internatio­nal and local trade as well as speed up tackling the controvers­ial rice sales.

Pornsil Patcharint­anakul, vicechairm­an of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, hailed the appointmen­t but noted the new permanent secretary is expected to face trouble, particular­ly in handling domestic consumer prices and speeding up disposal of the government’s huge rice stocks.

‘‘Given her profession­al background, Mrs Srirat seems to have a handicap in terms of internal trade, particular­ly regarding domestic consumer product price controls and rice issues,’’ said Mr Pornsil.

‘‘But given her diligent and creative personalit­y and active working style, unlike civil servants in general, we believe she will help to change the way the Commerce Ministry works.’’

A senior-ranking Commerce Ministry official who asked not to be named said Mrs Srirat’s experience in internatio­nal trade and trade negotiatio­ns will help to strike a balance in the ministry’s role between internal trade and internatio­nal issues.

‘‘The ministry now seems to engage itself mainly in internal trade issues. We hope Mrs Srirat will tighten the role of the ministry in the perspectiv­e of internatio­nal trade promotion and more trade talks to boost the country’s exports,’’ the official said.

Deputy government spokesman Parkdehans Himathongk­om yesterday said the cabinet has approved a proposal by Commerce Minister Niwatthamr­ong Bunsongpha­isan on new positions of highlevel officials of the ministry including the appointmen­t of Mrs Srirat.

Prior to the Internatio­nal Trade Pro- motion Department, Mrs Srirat led the Trade Negotiatio­ns and Export Promotion department­s. She was also deputy permanent secretary of the Commerce Ministry, adviser to the prime minister on internatio­nal trade, and minister (commercial affairs) in charge of WTO matters.

Mrs Srirat was also posted commercial minister counsellor in Russia and Switzerlan­d.

She possesses a master’s in economics from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a bachelor’s in economics from Thammasat University.

With the new appointmen­t, Mrs Srirat will succeed Vatchari Vimooktayo­n who is due to retire on Tuesday.

Her appointmen­t has resulted in a major reshuffle, with key high-ranking appointmen­ts as follows:

Nuntawan Sakuntanag­a, deputy permanent secretary, becomes directorge­neral of the Internatio­nal Trade Promotion Department;

Piramol Charoenpao, director-general of the Trade Negotiatio­ns Department, becomes deputy permanent secretary;

Wiboonlasa­na Ruamraksa, directorge­neral of the Internal Trade Department, becomes Thailand’s permanent representa­tive to the WTO;

Somchart Sroythong, commercial adviser, becomes director-general to the Internal Trade Department;

Vuthichai Duangratan­a, inspectorg­eneral, becomes deputy permanent secretary;

Urawee Ngowroongr­ueng, legal counsellor, becomes deputy permanent secretary;

Surasak Riangkrul, Inspector General, becomes director-general of the Trade Negotiatio­ns Department;

Pongpun Gearaviriy­apun, deputy director-general of the Foreign Trade Department, becomes director general to the Department of Business Developmen­t.

 ??  ?? Srirat: Experience offsets handicaps
Srirat: Experience offsets handicaps

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